FBI is investigating a security breach of ATT’s website that allowed hackers to obtain the email addresses of iPad owners.
‘The FBI is aware of these possible computer intrusions and has opened an investigation to address this potential cyberthreat,’ said Lindsay Godwin, an FBI spokeswoman.
ATT acknowledged on Wednesday there had been a data breach at the US telecom giant that allowed hackers to obtain the email addresses of owners of the 3G model of the iPad.
ATT’s 3G plan provides the mobile connectivity for the touchscreen tablet computer from Apple.
According to Silicon Valley website Valleywag, a shadowy hacking group called Goatse Security hacked into the ATT website and obtained the email addresses of over 114,000 iPad owners including those of business leaders, politicians and military officials.
Valleywag published the names of some on the list but not their full email addresses.
They included New York Times Co. chief executive Janet Robinson, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.
Earlier Thursday, retired rear-admiral Jamie Barnett, chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s public safety and homeland security bureau, expressed concern about the incident.
‘I am concerned about the report of a security breach to ATT’s network that exposed the personal data of more than a hundred thousand iPad users,’ Barnett said in a statement.
‘This breach underscores the need for robust cyber security,’ he said. ‘The FCC will continue to work with all stakeholders to prevent future security breaches that violate consumer privacy and undermine trust in America’s communications infrastructure.’
ATT apologised for the disclosure and said it has ‘turned off the feature that provided the email addresses.’
Valleywag owner Gawker Media also runs the popular technology blog Gizmodo, which obtained a secret prototype of an Apple iPhone in April after it was lost in a California bar and published details and pictures of the device.